Our concrete jungle project is winding down and may be completed by tomorrow. They poured the driveway on Tuesday, the RV pad yesterday (pictures coming!), and will be doing the pool deck today. Everything thus far looks far better than we imagined. Our poor pool is nearly drained to allow them easier access, but it’s just as well because it’s a mess of concrete, dirt, leaves, etc. We are not sure yet whether to hire a service with a pool vac to clean it out thoroughly or acquire one for ourselves and M do it. In this case I believe we will compromise: hire the service to clean out the mess and polish the tile, then evaluate and purchase a smaller pool vac for our use.
The concrete crew is 100% hispanic, and spanish is spoken when they are communicating with each other. The owner and crew leaders all speak heavily accented english, but M and I can understand them well enough. Since he is there all day and working beside them, they all know M’s first name and address him that way, but on the few occasions they are greeting or speaking to me, if they call me anything they refer to me as “Mrs. M.” No matter how many times I have introduced myself, told them to call me Janelle, M refers to me by name … I am forever Mrs. M to them.
It is rather endearing.
As previously noted, M and I are kind of weird about extended hospitality to contractors working at our home for more than a day, and this crew has been with us for almost 2 weeks. Most people supply drinks – water, lemonade, soda – but we tend to want to offer food as well, and I have been preparing something for them most of the days. Since they are hispanic and are accustomed to spicy foods, I have been using a lot more peppers and spices than I would ever use cooking for us (I do not like spicy food). Since they are doing a lot of hard physical labor, I prepare meaty meals with lots of protein. Still, it has been simple stuff – beefy stews, lasagna with chorizo, salsa chicken, chilli meat and beans – all served with bread. I put it together the night before and start the crockpot or in the oven on a timer so it’s hot and ready for midday meals. Thus far It has been well received, and every day I have come home to an empty crock pot or pan where there was food when I left the house. Still, I have this ridiculous anxiety that they are just being nice and telling M that they like it and eating all of it.
Nicer still is that their work and has not gone unnoticed. Thus far the owner has been to 3 other homes in our neighborhood to quote jobs, already contracted with 2 of them, and given cards out to several others who asked. We are thrilled they are getting more work.
But for now, they are solely focused on our pool deck. While we have enjoyed having them underfoot – as much as anyone can enjoy having their whole yard torn to bits and rebuilt – it will be nice to have the job done and get started on the next projects. Plus after the concrete is done we can get back to praying for rain. The weather has been lovely out here, but we REALLY need some rain.